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Prostate Suppl. 1994;5:9-14.

Neoadjuvant androgen blockade prior to prostatectomy: a retrospective study and critical review.

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Department of Urology, University Clinics of Brussels, Erasme Hospital, Belgium.


The treatment of locally advanced prostatic cancer is controversial, as there are several possible treatment options. The aims of temporary androgen deprivation prior to radical prostatectomy are to achieve downgrading and downstaging of the tumor, an increase in local control, a decrease in morbidity and operative sequelae, a decrease in the time to progression, and an improvement in survival. A retrospective study has been carried out on 100 patients who underwent radical prostatectomy between 1988 and 1992. Forty patients received androgen deprivation therapy followed by prostatectomy, while the remaining 60 acted as controls, undergoing prostatectomy alone. Treated patients had a 40-50% reduction in prostate volume after 3 months, facilitating dissection of the prostate, reducing intraoperative blood loss, and reducing operation time. Of these 40 treated patients, one third showed clinical downstaging; one patient staged initially as T2/B was downstaged to PT0. The proportion of patients with positive surgical margins was 32% in the group treated preoperatively, compared with 57% in untreated patients. Treated patients also recovered full continence more rapidly after the operation than patients who underwent prostatectomy alone. After androgen blockade, serum PSA levels returned to normal (< 4 ng/ml) in 37 of the 40 patients. Of these patients, 22 had undetectable serum PSA levels (< 0.25 ng/ml), showing a definite reduction in tumor activity. PSA levels after 3 months of neoadjuvant hormonal treatment might play a useful predictive role in selecting patients before radical prostatectomy, since 86% with undetectable PSA had tumors confined to the gland (T2/B2), while patients who still had PSA > 4 ng/ml all had stage T3-T4 tumors. Although downstaging was confirmed pathologically in only 13% of patients, this is of significance when the total number of patients with locally advanced prostate cancer is considered and, therefore, may have implications for survival in the future. Prospective randomized studies should provide conclusive information on the potential benefit of this approach.

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